The Starting 5: Featuring pitcher and hitter MLB DFS picks for FanDuel & DraftKings cash game lineups on Sunday, July 15, 2018 (7/15).
Sharing articles with picks and advice to help you build winning MLB lineups on FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK).
Welcome to the Starting Five MLB edition. In this article, we will give you a pitcher to consider and three hitters in each salary range. The hitters will be broken down into the following categories stud ($4,000 plus in salary), midrange ($3,000 to $3,900 in salary) and value hitter (below $3,000 in salary). We will use FanDuel’s pricing as a reference. To end the article we will give you our top player of the day regardless if that player is a hitter or pitcher. These picks will also come from the main slate of games on FanDuel each day and may not include all games played that day.
Manning the Mound
SP to Target: Justin Verlander, HOU
Verlander is pretty easily the top play on the mound today, with a 80% win probability (highest I remember seeing on the board this year) and elite 2.4 run total. His 2.80 SIERA and 11.5 K/9 over the last month of work are fantastic baselines to work with and showcase the excellent recent form, and DET has a .287 wOBA split vs RHP on the year. All that adds up together to be a high-end situation for exploitation in all formats that you can afford him. Expect Verlander to bring his A-game against his former club and threaten for a 7-8 IP, 10-12 K kind of dominant outing.
The Batter’s Box
Stud Bat to Target: 3B Jose Ramirez, CLE
Ramirez is on one heck of a streak these days, with 4 multi-hit games in his last 5 and at least 1 hit in each of those with many of them going out of the park or for extra bases. Just to illustrate that point, he has a 301 wRC+, .612 wOBA and 1.525 OPS in his last week of action. Ridiculous numbers, without question. Masahiro Tanaka always has trouble with the long ball, so don’t be surprised if he turns in another elite outing today.
Mid-Range Bat to Target: 1B Justin Smoak, TOR
Smoak is another bat that is hitting out of his mind right now, with a 254 wRC+, .583 ISO and 1.345 OPS in his last week of action. The situation today against Brian Johnson should yield plenty of chances to not only go deep once again, but at the very least get on base a couple times and threaten for 1-2 RBI/R at minimum. High OBP nature yields a nice floor/ceiling combination while he’s seeing the ball extremely well.
Bargain Bin Bat to Target: OF Adam Eaton, WAS
The value here is tremendous, considering Eaton has been swinging a hot bat of late with a 188 wRC+ and .455 wOBA – even though that pales in comparison to the other 2 names mentioned above. When you factor in that he’s under $3K on FD and should lead off yet again for the Nats against one of the softer RHPs in the game right now, he’s a near must-start for me. However, don’t expect low own% – especially in cash games where a Verlander-led team is going to require serious value diving.
Top Play of the Day
2B Whit Merrifield, KC
You can make an argument for any of the above to be featured in this spot, but I am going to roll with Merrifield who is a great combination of value, floor and ceiling at the moment. He gets to face Lucas Giolito and his 6.59 ERA this afternoon, and has been hitting the cover off the ball of late with 6 multi hit efforts in his last 8 games and plenty of walks sprinkled in as well to help drive up the R contributions, too. His 244 wRC+ in the last week of action with a 1.238 OPS helps to articulate the success, and for the DFS price you have to pay today, he’s an elite option however you slice and dice it.
Best of luck in your contests today!